Making & Mending - DIY Install - Swing Arm (Articulating) TV Wall Mounts
The days of giant, boxy televisions that take three people to carry are long behind us. Modern TVs are flat, slim, and most importantly, lightweight. These newer, sleeker designs make it much easier to save space by using a TV wall mount over a traditional TV stand. Before installing a TV mount, there are a few basic details to be aware of.
In this guide, we will be covering articulating (swing arm) TV mounts. Articulating wall mounts allow a TV to swing back and forth, making them best for areas where a TV needs to face different directions. For tilting and fixed mounts, see our other TV mount DIY install guide here.
There are a few different ratings that apply to TV wall mounts. The first is the size of the television. Wall mounts will be rated for different screen sizes, so be sure to select a unit that will accommodate your television. Each wall mount will also have a weight limit. Smaller articulating wall mounts cannot handle as much weight as an equivalent fixed wall mount, so be sure to double-check the weight limit. Bigger units (wall mounts made for TVs 80” or larger) have higher weight limits and should not present any problems.
The other major factor is the VESA pattern of the television. VESA patterns are the holes on the back to the TV used to attach the mount. There are different types of VESA patterns, measured in millimeters. For example, a 200x200 VESA pattern means the holes form a square that is 200 millimeters on each side. The VESA pattern should be listed in the TV instruction manual. Otherwise, a ruler or tape measure can be used to check. Be sure to select a wall mount with a maximum VESA pattern compatible with the TV. If a little wiggle room is needed, a VESA adapter kit can be used.
In the guide below, we will be using an articulating TV wall mount rated for 14-40” televisions. There is a video version of the guide available at the bottom of the article.
Step 1: Gathering the Tools
All of the small odds and ends needed to install the wall mount will come with it. These little pieces include mounting screws (multiple sizes), washers, mounting bolts, plastic spacers, and concrete anchors. Those last two may not be needed. Plastic spacers are used to make extra room on TVs with screw holes that are too shallow. Concrete anchors will only be needed if you are mounting on a wall made of something like concrete or brick.
Everything else will be common tools. Users will need a pencil, a ratchet with a 10mm socket, a Phillips head screwdriver, a drill with a ¼” drill bit, and a stud finder. If the drill has a 10mm socket adapter, that can be used instead of a ratchet. This is also a good time to check the VESA pattern and confirm its size.
Step 2: Attaching the Mounting Plate
Lay the TV face down to work on the back of it. Take the mounting plate and hold it up to the VESA pattern, lining up the screw holes. Put a washer over each small mounting screw and use the screwdriver to secure the mounting plate to the back of the TV.
Step 3: Marking the Stud
Use the stud finder to locate a stud on the area of the wall where the TV will hang and mark it with the pencil.
Step 4: Positioning the Swing Arm
Drill the first pilot hole into the spot marked in Step 3. Hold the swing arm up to the pilot hole and attach a mounting bolt, securing it with the ratchet or drill. Repeat this step with the other mounting holes on the swing arm.
Step 5: Prepping the Swing Arm
Unscrew the locking screws from the end of the swing arm.
Step 6: Mounting the TV
Slide the mounting plate on the back of the TV over the end of the swing arm. Make sure the plate lines up correctly with the swing arm and reattach the locking screws for a secure connection.